Psalm 51:15-17 (NIV)
Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
Finally reaching a point in my life of loving Jesus and knowing Him longer than I have not, these verses in Psalm 51 no longer imply a God who wants to break my will and destroy my spirit but One whose love is unfailing, unending and overwhelming. Brokenness is never a favorable condition to our flesh which is bent on survival. We are born dying. Sobering but true. From the moment, a baby takes in its first breath the time clock of life is ticking. It’s crazy looking back in time at all the Lord has done in my life. It has been a wild ride mostly because I have a hard heart and rebellious spirit that has tried endlessly to dissuade my pursuit of Christ. In a moment of prayer and praise, I realized that although my heart has been shattered repeatedly in this life. Somehow, according to God’s Plan and the Lord’s Promise, it is strangely intact beating stronger, harder and faster than ever before. German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche is credited with the quote, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” I believe it.
Crazy as it seems, there are studies that show people who survive trauma actually report positive changes and enhanced personal development which is called post traumatic growth. A beneficial change resulting from major like crisis or traumatic event which people attribute to producing an affirmative shift by having renewed appreciation for life, adopting new vision with good possibilities, feeling personal strength, and experiencing spiritual satisfaction just to name a few. Victor Frankel who survived the holocaust to become a neurologist and psychiatrist said, “The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity – even under the most difficult circumstances to add a deeper meaning to his life.”
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” What will it take to break you? You are stronger than you think. Survival of the body, mind and spirit are the driving force of life that takes us farther than we think we can go to do more than we ever thought possible. How do I know? I have been there. Throughout the course of our son’s illness, unequivocally the most traumatic event of my life, people would often say, “I don’t know how you do it?” Let me let you in on a little secret. The night of our son’s diagnosis, the Lord did not come to me with a questionnaire. Can you handle cancer and the possible loss of a child? Check yes or no. I believe that night the enemy went before the Throne of God looked Jesus in His Beautiful Face and asked to consider God’s Servant. The Lord knew what was in me. I had no idea what or how the whole thing might play out, just that a doctor walked in surrounded by his peers to scoop up my heart and slam it to the concrete floor shattering it into a million tiny pieces. I was not sure if I would ever recover. There was no time to act in that moment. I could not do anything in and of myself to save our dying child. So it was my turn to go to the Throne of God with all the tiny pieces of my heart. He asked only one question, “Do you trust me?” I said, “Of course, Lord, this is not about that! You know I love and trust You!” He said, “Your son will live and not die.” I took immediate comfort in His Word though I had no idea it would take almost five years to come to pass.
Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 147:3 (NIV) He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Why would God allow our hearts to be broken? Why is there a need for brokenness in us? I believe it is how He grafts us into His Body. Just like a natural skin graft, there must be a cutting of our flesh to promote healing and new growth so it is in the spiritual life of God’s People. Let’s face it when things are going well, life is good and people are satisfied – we may still follow Jesus but seldom do we press. It is in that moment of weakness that we pursue more of His Power and Presence in our life. It is in our frailty before the Lord that we can see what we are truly made of. Who is in charge? Our flesh or His Spirit? Job had just lost everything. He continued to honor the Lord. So, the enemy went back to God for another crack at His Servant. The Lord granted his request and Job’s body was afflicted with painful sores from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. His wife quite simply said, “Just curse God and die.” Well, wasn’t she a breath of sunshine, encouragement and love on her husband’s worst day ever. Job was a man of integrity and in his complete and utter brokenness refused to relinquish his integrity before the Lord. (Job 2:7-10)
After the danger had passed as days turned to weeks, to months and finally a year of remission without evidence of disease, I realized that I may be experiencing some form of post-traumatic stress syndrome. My heart had not properly dealt with our ordeal and I had not surrendered all of its pieces to the Lord. Now before you pick up that bat beating yourself in the head comparing my plight to yours, and thinking that just because your kid did not battle cancer five times less than four years that you have no right to be broken or feel the way that you do, stop right there. The tests and trials of life are under the strict and direct supervision of the Lord as He leads us closer to Him. Just because we have gone through different events, in no way implies that one level of brokenness outweighs another. What is important today is that God, Your God, My God, Our Father, wants to take the sacrifice of a broken spirit and broken and contrite heart to do something with it. He wants all of the pieces. Not just the ones we are willing to give so that our life will be better than before. The Lord heals to the uttermost. He will not stop until we are complete lacking no good thing.
2 Corinthians 4:6-10 (NIV)
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
After the ordeal with our son, I was not sure that I could survive another test or make it through another race of faith successfully so I drew back trying to rebuild my comfort zone. Recently, the chains of melted off my heart and the healing process began to reach the part that the Lord was after all alone. Yesterday, I realized what He was after. I was a young single mother rebuilding her life and I lived each day believing that as long as I had my three small children, it would all work out and I would be okay. It was my strength. This concept was my life philosophy. The Lord brought my husband in my life. We gave our hearts back to Jesus. Added two more children to our family and by the Grace of God have a really wonderful life. I never gave another moment’s thought to the mindset of my past…until yesterday. The one thing that I held sacred and built my life upon was challenged when the enemy came after our son. I was riveted to the foundation of my faith and Jesus jackhammered that tiny piece of flesh hidden there. See during round three of cancer, it occurred to me that whether or not our son made it through or not, I would still love and serve the Lord. I never would have believe it. I felt a little guilty as a mom until the Lord flooded me with the same peace that He gave Abraham moments before he was about to thrust a knife through his son. The only chance that I have at a rich and satisfying life is Jesus. He must be my all in all. (Luke 20:17-18) He is the Cornerstone of our life… or is He. The Bible says in Luke 20 that those who fall on Him will be broken but those under Him will be crushed. We will be broken pursing Him. When we decide to surrender all of our pieces that is when our life become beautiful.
Are you broken today? Do you need God to heal your heart? He will. He just needs all the pieces. When we are weak, He becomes our strength. Trouble is most people are stronger than they think. Sometimes it takes a lot to get to the bottom our heart and test its foundation. We are but fragile jars of clay containing a treasure. The Power of God lives in us. He loves us with an all-consuming jealousy that will not stop until His Perfect Plan is evident in us uniting us with Him forever. We must be willing to be weak and broken before the Lord in order to experience such supernatural growth that only He can produce in us as He fills us with His Glory to shine forth. Revelation 12:11 tells us that we overcome the enemy, our constant accuser, with the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony. These both take repentance and restoration. We carry the death of Jesus in us. His Blood is what saves us and protects us from the enemy’s destruction and devastation. Our testimony is written by how we overcome and triumph. A testimony is usually based on a test. Messes become messages. You are no good to another until you have gone through something and come out victorious in Jesus. You will never relate to the broken or distraught until you have joined them. Brokenness comes with purpose. The Lord catches each tear and keeps it in a bottle. He loves us too much to let us live a so-so life. He wants to give us abundant life. To have it, Jesus must have all our pieces. Especially the broken ones that once were shaped as our heart! Your life has a plan and purpose like a giant puzzle. God sees the picture. He knows it’s potential. Won’t you give Him all the pieces?
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.